Friday, August 6, 2010
Academy of Da Corner Reader's Theatre
Academy of Da Corner Reader's Theater
Academy of Da Corner Reader's Theatre performed at Third Eye Video tonight. They were the bomb! Oakland will never be the same, the universe will not be the same, not after tonight's performance that was merely a dress rehearsal for Sunday's performance at the San Francisco Theatre Festival.
This was ritual theatre at its finest, the realization of what we attempted during the 60s at the New Lafayette Theatre in Harlem and Barbara Ann Teer's National Black Theatre in the same location. Of course Marvin X perfected ritual theatre with his production The Resurrection of the Dead, a myth-ritual dance drama at his Black Educational Theatre in the Fillmore of San Francisco, 1972.
All the elements were in use tonight. The event began with a monologue by Marvin X, accompanied by the music of Elliott Bey, Marvin's long-time associate who performs with X coast to coast. Elliott is a Philly native who established Recovery Theatre East to carry out X's notion of theatre. They did a classic concert in Philly at Warm Daddies, along with members of Sun Ra's Arkestra, Marshall Allen, Danny Thompson and Noel, plus Rufus Harley on bagpipes, also Alexander El and Ancestor Goldsky.
Tonight Elliott Bey provided the music for the entire set with his synthesizer, in the Sun Ra tradition. But his sounds were joined by the vocals and guitar of Rashidah Sabreen who entered after X's monologue on the theme of his controversial Mythology of Pussy and Dick.
The host of Third Eye Video, Sister Beverley co-signed his Mythology because it helped heal her pussy issues. She thanked Marvin for getting her out of the box of pathological sexuality.
Marvin X's concert formally began at this point with an original song by Rashidah, accompanied by X's poem What is Love. The audience went wild. But the show hadn't started.
Enter Paradise reciting Parable of the Penguin, a mockery of the brothers with sagging pants walking like a duck or penguin.
And then came Parable of the Day of Absence, read by Talibah, Paradise and a chorus that included the audience who held up posters with the face of Oscar Grant. The audience joined with the chorus in chanting lines from the parable that described the moment in the Bay Area before the verdict was announced in the murder trial of the officer who killed Oscar Grant as he lay on the ground. This was the height of communal ritual drama, but there was more to come.
Enter Mechelle LaChaux reading Parable of the Cell Phone. Marvin X read the preface to her intro. The parable is a mockery of cell phone users. The woman on the cell phone is at her funeral, in her coffin, yet talking to her girlfriend on the phone. It is classic Marvin X language that he has utilized since his first published writings appeared in Soulbook magazine, circa 1964.
Mechelle stole the show, except the ritual master wasn't finished. Next came Parable of the Woman in the Box, choreographed by Raynetta Rayzetta, Marvjn's favorite choreographer.
She can interpret every word of his poetry. Marvin read the parable as she danced using only her upper body until the end when she made her exit dancing to Yolanda Adams. Rashidah accompanied her while she was in the box. The parable is a metaphor of all human beings caught in the box of mythology and self confining ritual. The audience sat stunned.
Marvin concluded the ritual with a song by Rashidah and his poem You Don't Know Me. The poem is the essence of his message in Mythology of Pussy and Dick. We are lovers yet we don't know each other, we are strangers in the night and in the day.
This was only a dress rehearsal but the audience was blown away, far far away. Even the performers could not believe what they'd done, yet it was what it was.
We can't wait until Sunday's performance at the San Francisco Theatre Festival. The last time Marvin X performed at the festival the whites walked out. We don't think they will be able to walk out this time--their paralysis might be too severe! Call the paramedics!